Case details

Rear-end crash did not cause plaintiff’s injuries, defense alleged





Result type

Not present

back, cervical, herniated disc, lumbar, neck
On Sept. 8, 2015, plaintiff Gilbert Badillo, a carpenter, was driving on State Route 91, in Anaheim. His sport utility vehicle’s rear end was struck by a trailing pickup truck that was being driven by Daniel Bonelli. Badillo claimed that he suffered of his back and neck. Badillo sued Bonelli, alleging that Bonelli was negligent in the operation of his vehicle. The defense conceded liability., Badillo claimed that he sustained herniated discs of the cervical and lumbar spine, which caused numbness and tingling in the right arm. He received treatment from a chiropractor and from a physical medicine expert at a Kaiser Permanente location. Badillo sought recovery of $11,720 in past medical costs and $4,324.12 in lost earnings. He also sought recovery of damages for pain and suffering. His wife, Linda Badillo, presented a derivative claim seeking recovery for her loss of consortium. Defense counsel disputed the nature and extent of Mr. Badillo’s claimed . Counsel contended that Badillo had a significant history of chronic neck and lower back pain, and degenerative disc disease dating to 2000. Counsel also contended that Badillo had an underlying condition of diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis, a type of arthritis that affects tendons and ligaments, mainly around the spine, and that Badillo was involved in a car accident in 2000, in which Badillo sustained to the neck and lower back, requiring physical therapy. According to defense counsel, Badillo was in the course and scope of his employment at the time of the accident, so there was a workers’ compensation lien. However, Bonelli claimed the collision was extremely minor, with his vehicle only sustaining $948 in damage and Badillo’s vehicle only sustaining $3,176 in damage. He also claimed that Badillo did not have any complaints at the scene and that Badillo left the scene to go to his carpenter job that day. The defense’s accident-reconstruction expert confirmed that Badillo’s vehicle was involved in three to four accidents before the subject accident, one of which was a rear-end accident. The expert also analyzed the physical evidence in the subject accident and testified that there was no frame or structural damage to Badillo’s vehicle. The expert explained that the damage Badillo claimed to have occurred in the subject accident was not consistent with the tear-down photos taken after the subject accident, and opined that the alleged damage was actually caused by one of the four prior accidents that the vehicle was involved in. In addition, the accident-reconstruction expert performed a collision analysis and determined that the delta-v to Badillo’s vehicle was 2 to 3.5 mph with a closing speed of 5 to 7 mph. The defense’s expert orthopedic surgeon opined that Badillo was not injured in the accident, nor was his condition made worse and that as a result, the chiropractic treatment Badillo received was not reasonable or necessary. The expert orthopedic surgeon, who was also qualified as a biomechanic expert, further opined that the forces in the accident were not sufficient to cause any to Badillo.
Superior Court of Orange County, Orange, CA

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